Commercial Obligations: Sources, Modalities, Examples

Commercial obligations are legal relationships that arise when a person called a debtor contracts the duty to do or give something in favor of another person called a creditor.

When this legal relationship between the person called the debtor and the creditor is generated by means of an act of commerce, it will be understood that the obligation as such has a commercial nature.

The legal relationship of credit to debt forms the essential basis of commercial law as a regulator of mass traffic. Fundamentally, this relationship is regulated by the law of obligations, with certain variants established by particularities in the traffic of commercial businesses.

The main variants are shown in the elimination of grace periods, in the least formality, in which a lawsuit is not needed to attack the debtor’s delinquency and in the assumption of remuneration in certain contracts.

The attractive force that mercantile arrangements exert in business traffic and the lack of readjustments in civil methods have made it practically an academic matter to distinguish between civil and mercantile obligations.

Sources of commercial obligations

They are those legal acts that initiate an obligation. That is to say, the legal facts by means of which two people place themselves one and the other in the condition of creditor and debtor.

They may only be bound when the events indicated in the law occur, the legal categorizations being those that indicate which will be the sources of the obligations.


Of all the sources, the commercial contract is perhaps the most important in general terms. It originates obligations because both the debtor and the creditor have declared their willingness to mutually agree.

Payment of the undue

This is shown when a person called a debtor improperly pays someone who is not your creditor. In this case, the law requires whoever received the payment to be obliged to repeat it to the correct creditor.

Business management

It refers to the obligation taken by whoever assumes the management of a foreign business, without having been obliged to do so, to continue with that management that began and to lead it to a term while the owner is not in a state to manage it himself.

Wrongful act

It is given by the grouping of obligations that come from an intentional damage caused by an agent to the victim’s assets or directly to a person.

It also comes when the damage is caused unintentionally, due to incompetence, negligence, recklessness, having to answer for the damage caused by one’s own act, or for the acts of a person who is under the supervision of the agent, or of an animal or thing over which proper vigilance should be exercised.


They are facts that are going to modify or alter an obligation with respect to three aspects of it:

– Existence of the obligation, by means of the conditions, whether resolutory or suspensive.

– Enforceability of the obligation, through the term or term.

– Complexity of the obligation, if it encompasses a diversity of objects or subjects.

– Condition

It is defined as a future and fortuitous event, which depending on its realization will cause an obligation to be born or extinguished, affecting its existence.

– Suspension condition: it is conformed when the creation of the obligation depends on its realization.

– Resulting condition: It occurs when the termination of the obligation is derived from its performance.

– Term or term

It is a future event with a certain realization, which will suspend or extinguish the consequences of an obligation. This modality will only affect the enforceability of the obligation, since the obligation exists with a legal life.

Suspensive term

It is the future fact of necessary and certain realization that will defer the effects of a legal act or obligation.

Extinctive term

It is the future event of necessary and certain realization that removes the effects of a legal act or obligation.

– Complex obligations

When there is a diversity of creditors or active subjects, and / or debtors or taxpayers, with the same obligation, it makes it complex, emerging a new modality, classified as:


There is no division with respect to the debt or credit, but the debt must be paid in full by active solidarity, where a single debtor pays any of the creditors, or by passive solidarity, where one of the debtors pays a sole creditor.


It consists of a diversity of creditor or debtor subjects, where the debt or credit is considered divided into as many parts as there are creditors or debtors, each part of the credit or debt being different.

The joint debtor does not respond to the creditor with the entire debt, but only with the share that corresponds to him.

Examples of commercial obligations

Mercantile sale

The sale happens when one of the parties has the obligation to deliver an object and the other to pay for it with money. The first is said to sell and the second to buy. The money that the buyer gives for the sold object is called the price.

In relation to its scope of use, it is usually between a merchant and its supplier. Thus, when a merchant obtains merchandise for his business, which he will use later to provide a service, there will be a mercantile sale.

Ground transportation

It is defined as a contract in which someone is obliged to transfer from one place to another, by land, lakes or navigable rivers, foreign goods for a certain price, delivering them to the person for whom they are intended.

In relation to the transport of people, an example is when a hotel pays a transport company to carry out the passenger transport service for their transfer from the airport facilities to the hotel, under their own account.

Bank deposit

It refers to one of the main operations of the banks, which is considered to be the determining factor for their creation and from which the other essential operations of this economic activity have been formed.

Actually, the bank is not limited simply to the function of guarding the money deposited, but through this it carries out fund transfers and fulfills payment orders, originating the operation of the draft of checks, bank checking accounts and other operations that consist of the issuance of transferable securities and credit instruments.

The use of the deposit and all the services offered by a bank represent as such a complex system of banking obligations, which are part of business life.


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  3. Sánchez Bermejo Abogados (2020). Characteristics of commercial obligations. Taken from:
  4. UNAM (2020). Commercial Obligations. Taken from:
  5. My Lawyers (2020). Everything you need to know about commercial contracts. Taken from:

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